Stuffed Mirlitons with Shrimp and Tasso

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Stuffed Mirlitons with Shrimp and Tasso
This is a traditional Christmas favorite in New Orleans A mirliton (locally pronounced mel-a-tawn) is a small, pale green, pear-shaped gourd with a funky little puckered end that resembles a Muppet's grin.  They are more commonly know as chayotes outside of south Louisiana.  Like any squash, they can be fried, baked, sauteed, pickled, creamed or pureed. If you can't find them, substitute yellow crookneck squash, zucchini or eggplant Tasso is a heavily seasoned, cured and smoked ham. If you can't find it, substitute chopped ham or any type of sausage. When stuffed, the subtle sweetness of the mirliton blends well with the delicate flavor of the shrimp and the smokiness of the tasso.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 mintues
Servings
Ingredients
Mirlitons
  • 4 medium mirlitons (chayote squash)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 8-oz package of tasso chopped
  • 1 lb small to medium shrimp peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 1.5 cups Italian bread cumbs
Seasoning Mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 mintues
Servings
Ingredients
Mirlitons
  • 4 medium mirlitons (chayote squash)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 8-oz package of tasso chopped
  • 1 lb small to medium shrimp peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 1.5 cups Italian bread cumbs
Seasoning Mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
Instructions
Seasoning Mix
  1. Thoroughly combine seasoning mix in a small bowl and set aside
Mirlitons
  1. Place whole mirlitons in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring water to a boil; cook mirlitons until just fork-tender, about 20 minutes; drain and cool
  2. Slice each one in half; remove and discard seeds
  3. Gently scoop out pulp, leaving skins intact with enough meat to hold its form; set aside and save pulp; drain mirliton shells upside down on paper towels
  4. Chop pulp into bite-size pieces; place in a colander to drain; set aside shells and pulp
Stuffing
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbl butter with the olive oil
  2. Add onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic; saute until tender, 5-7 minutes
  3. Add tasso, saute until tasso begins to brown, about 5 minutes
  4. Stir in shrimp, cook until shrimp turn pink, about 5 minutes
  5. Reduce heat to low; add seasoning mix and reserved mirliton pulp; cook an additional 5 minutes
  6. Remove shrimp and tasso mixture from heat; stir in 1 cup bread crumbs to absorb the liquid (mixture should be moist but not runny, may need to add more bread crumbs); adjust seasoning if necessary
Finish
  1. Spoon shrimp and tasso mixture evenly into mirliton shells.
  2. Place stuffed mirlitons in a large, lightly greased baking dish; sprinkle tops with reserved breadcrumbs and butter
  3. Bake at 350, uncovered, until bubbly and tops are golden brown, about 20 minutes
Recipe Notes

The stuffed mirlitons can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap, placed in freezer bags and frozen for later use. Simply thaw them at room temperature and bake as described above.

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